The Christmas Chronicles 2- Netflix Review: The Christmas Chronicles was an endearing and fun, festive watch. It would be tough for the producers to follow up on the same, let alone surpass it. However, they did the latter and did not make anything in the sequel seem forced whatsoever. Basically, The Christmas Chronicles 2 isn’t a rehash of the first film with a different cast. The primary cast from the original makes it to the second installment of the franchise. The film acknowledges the age of the characters and introduces some new ones into the mix. Furthermore, this installment gives Goldie Hawn (Mrs. Claus) a bit more screen time and builds on her cameo from the original Netflix film.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 begins with the introduction of three new characters. Tyrese Gibson plays Bob Booker, the man who is with Kimberly Williams-Paisley’s Claire Pierce. He has a son (Jahzir Bruno as Jack Booker) who is set to become Teddy and Kate’s stepbrother. The antagonist, Belsnickel, is portrayed by Julian Dennison.
The characters converge at Pierce’s holiday location, i.e. Mexico. Tropical beachside Mexico is poles apart from the winter wonderland associated with the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. It is here that Belsnickel engineers a plot to ruin Christmas. He plays on the troubled teenager’s worries. But, like in every film, things don’t go as per plan.
This culminates in a journey that takes the audience on a ride through Christmas lore with the origin of Santa Claus and the elves being taken into account here. The Christmas Chronicles 2 even touches upon aspects such as the Aurora Borealis and the star of Bethlehem. Hence, one can define the film as Christmas Chronicles within a Christmas Chronicle. This film even leaves the door open for a bunch of spin-off films. One hopes they don’t overdo it, though.
The choice of characters going along on the journey reminded me of Eustace going to Narnia with Edmund and Lucy, whilst Peter and Susan missed out. The Borealis is a common thing that has been associated with nearing the North Pole. A movie that comes to mind whilst thinking of the Northern Lights, Christmas, and The North Pole, is The Polar Express.
A flaw in this film is the lack of prominent characters such as the cops in the first film. The introduction of the other characters in The Christmas Chronicles was to help mold Russell as ‘Santa Claus.’ That has already been established and Christmas Chronicles 2 builds on it. The new installment explores magical characters traditionally associated with Christmas lore. For instance, we get to see why the jolly old man in the red suit associates with elves. Icelandic Christmas folklore, too, is present and it will be a treat to the uninitiated.
I love the manner in which writers Chris Columbus and Matt Lieberman weave classic Christmas carols into the dialogue. To be honest, there are so many carols that have provided an abundance of lyrics that it was just an opportunity waiting to be taken. These bring a smile to the audience’s face.
However, the film doesn’t just restrict itself to Christmas Carols. Instead, it even incorporates classic lines from The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now that’s something that we weren’t expecting.
Akin to its predecessor, there are subtle hints to pop culture that are thrown in. Santa, who was really annoyed by the pop culture representation of Santa Claus in the first part, seems to have accepted that now. The second film shows popular Christmas films that are being screened in the village. This is yet another plugin for the festival.
Like the 2018 film, this one also helps the protagonists discover themselves and gel with one another during the festival. This formula is followed in such a way that it almost mirrors The Christmas Chronicles.
Sticklers for geography could spot a flaw in the film right in the opening scene. However, it is traditional to associate villains with such sinister locations with complete disregard for the solstices rendering such climates impossible.
The film’s primary location is Santa Claus village. As one would expect, the village is like a delightful paradise. However, kudos to the production design for not over glamorizing the place. Instead, we get to see a village that isn’t a dazzling kaleidoscope. The restraint and simplicity add to the charm on screen and contribute to making the film memorable.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 has fun, laughter, joy, entertainment and is a delightful watch for the entire family. There is just enough magic in it both literally for the plot and in terms of what it delivers to the audience to make one and all fall in love with it.
Captured effortlessly by Christophe Beck’s lens, the setting is evocative of Christmas and The Christmas Chronicles:2 serves as the ideal movie to watch in the buildup to the festival.
This film will be part of many cinema lovers’ Christmas film lists for a while. Stream The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two on Netflix.